Situated just over 400 kilometres off the east coast of Southern Africa, a quarter of Madagascar’s population – or more than 6 million people - reside in areas that are highly prone to natural disasters. Preparedness is essential to ensure responders have the tools and mechanisms in place to respond effectively and efficiently to communities devastated by disaster.
And this is what the Logistics Cluster preparedness project in Madagascar is all about.
“No one activity is more important than another. Each step we take is so important. It’s a package, one undertaken collaboratively, with all of our activities and ideas and developments reinforcing the same goal: strengthening our logistical response capacities.”
That’s Christian Razafimahatratra. Last month we chatted with Christian about his decade-long experience as a humanitarian logistician in Madagascar. This month, we sit down with Christian once again to hear about the latest updates from Madagascar’s preparedness project, which launched in May this year alongside the National Disaster Management Agency, the BNGRC (Bureau National de Gestion des Risques et des Catastrophes).
Christian, thanks so much for your time once again. Can you tell us a little about last month's logistical preparedness activities?
Sure, together with the BNGRC and the steering group we started to update the logistical response plan. All partners are now encouraged to provide the necessary updates in terms of infrastructure information, services and logistical capacities in country. As you can imagine, this will take a while, but it’s a great relief to know that we will soon have an updated plan in place. This will help us to speed up our operations when disaster strikes. We’ve also had a visit from members of the Global Logistics Cluster support team in Rome for a scoping mission on introducing the Preparedness Platform here in Antananarivo. Ashraf Abu Shady, a GIS expert worked with the BNGRC to clarify the most pressing questions and requirements before the platform rollout phase in August.
We also had the chance to discuss data collection and verification procedures with the Director of the National Operational Centre (CERVO) and the technical staff.
On 13 June, we conducted a workshop with almost 40 participants from 21 organisations to discuss and collaborate on the information required for the platform in relation to both planning and decision making for supply chain operations in Madagascar.
The platform is a core component of the Logistics Cluster’s overall preparedness project. How did participants respond to the digital tool?
The participants were enthusiastic about the platform and it was great to see that such a diverse crowd of people participated in the workshop.
We had many decision makers from a range of ministries participating, as well as private sector, civil protection, UN agencies, the organisation that manages the biggest airports in the country, and NGOs such as CARE, Welthungerhilfe and ACF.
Perhaps most importantly, the BNGRC is really strong and supportive when it comes to logistical emergency response preparedness. With everyone on board and convinced of the tool’s functionalities, this helps ensure that the Preparedness Platform can become operational quickly.
But beyond providing an overview of the tool’s core functions, the workshop provided a pathway for localisation and allowed the humanitarian community to be involved in adjusting the Preparedness Platform precisely to the needs of Madagascar.
What are some of your personal highlights of the Global Logistics Cluster Preparedness Project in Madagascar so far? Is there anything you are particularly looking forward to?
I am really looking forward to the workshop in August where we will go into the next phase of introducing the preparedness platform by making the participants actually use the platform during a simulation exerciser.
We're also planning a national Logistics Response Team Training, which is also something I am looking forward to because it will strengthen our capacities as professional logisticians. But honestly, for me no one activity is more important than another. Each step we take is so important. It’s a package, one undertaken collaboratively, with all of our activities and ideas and developments reinforcing the same goal: strengthening our logistical response capacities.
Find out more about the Madagascar Preparedness Project here: https://logcluster.org/preparedness/madagascar